Home / News/ Vibrant and diverse Commonwealth

Vibrant and diverse Commonwealth


Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Saturday, 18 March 2017 00:00


Untitled-1

 

The UK has a longstanding and firm commitment to the Commonwealth and to the values it upholds, of democracy, human rights and the rule of law. On 14 March British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka James Dauris hosted a reception in celebration of Commonwealth Day (13 March). The event brought together senior representatives of the Sri Lankan Government and of the diplomatic missions of Commonwealth member states in Sri Lanka. The President of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association of Sri Lanka, the Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, attended the reception. 

Speaking to guests, High Commissioner Dauris commented: “We are here because the Commonwealth matters to all of us, and because we all want it to continue to matter in the future. It is a remarkable association of states that brings together a group of almost 2.4 billion people in 52 countries across six continents. Its strength lies in the combination of its members’ diversity; their shared inheritance in language, culture, history and tradition; their shared respect for the rule of law; and their common values and principles. Importantly, almost half of all these people are under the age of 25 – the Commonwealth needs to matter to them in years to come. 

“Its principles and values have helped its members prosper. Trade between Commonwealth countries is projected to be worth $ 1 trillion by 2020. Trade ministers meeting in London last week, including Minister Malik Samarawickrama, reaffirmed their commitment to a transparent, free and fair multilateral trading system and agreed to define a Commonwealth led ‘Agenda for Growth’ to promote trade, investment and job creation amongst member countries. 

“The core values of human rights and good governance, and respect for rule of law and democratic principles, shine through in the communiqués agreed at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) held here in Colombo in 2013, and at the meeting held in held in Malta in 2015.

“At the Colombo meeting it was agreed that eradicating poverty and climate change are major challenges for all countries. Core Commonwealth values, including democracy, the rule of law, human rights, freedom of expression and religion, women’s rights, the fight against corruption, and the need for transparency in government were also covered. 

“The 2015 Malta summit gave special attention to climate change and global sustainability in order to build support around these issues prior to the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP21, that was held in Paris late that year. Many members of the Commonwealth are small island nations and this is an issue that is especially relevant to some of them. 

“We are delighted that in April 2018 the next Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting will be held in London. The UK’s ambition is to see the meeting used by the 52 state members of the Commonwealth to agree on a strategy for the future of the organisation, a strategy that will energise this important international grouping, ensure its continuing relevance in tomorrow’s world, and contribute to our own and others’ shared prosperity and security.” 


Share This Article


COMMENTS

Today's Columnists

Lessons from Geneva

Saturday, 21 October 2017

‘Mission Impossible – Geneva’ is an inspiring account of developments at the Human Rights Council in Geneva when Dayan Jayatilleka was our Permanent Representative there. It is written by his wife Sanja, which provides for fascinating insights


Xi Jinping to enhance military power while keeping economic growth “moderate”

Saturday, 21 October 2017

In his keynote address on the opening day of the 19th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in Beijing on Wednesday, the Chinese President and party supremo, Xi Jinping, made two points of great relevance to the rest of the world. One is tha


Priming the pump to make your MP jump

Friday, 20 October 2017

Here’s a radical idea. What if – instead of liking it or lumping it as you do for years on end – the voter could hold his or her Member of Parliament accountable for their performance?


Eyes wide shut: Fate of our times

Friday, 20 October 2017

‘Eyes Wide Shut’ was the title of a film by famed director Stanley Kubrick. Loaded with Freudian sub-currents, the film was about an occult society that eliminates any one who cross its path. A theme that would no doubt appeal to a buccaneer prim


Columnists More